If you’ve had a difficult time transitioning from active duty to the civilian workforce, you’re not alone. It often seems that military skills don't easily translate to a civilian résumé, and it can be tricky to demonstrate to employers how your military skills can add value to their workplace. However, in the current job climate, you can find many high-growth career opportunities where that’s not a problem. From cybersecurity to compliance managers, here are nine in-demand jobs where your military skills are valued. Read on to find out how to qualify for each.
1. Aircraft Technician
Thanks to a major global expansion and a looming wave of retirements, the commercial airline industry is actively seeking aircraft technicians and should continue to do so for at least a decade. If you worked in or on an aircraft while in the service, this is a path worth considering; it is in high demand and pays well. Necessary qualifications include a specialized certificate or associate's degree, mechanical skills and experience, strong math skills, and FAA licensing.
2. Logistics and Operations Manager
To compete with retail giants such as Amazon, businesses spanning all industries need talented people to process and deliver merchandise in a timely and efficient manner. Logistics and operations managers were highly ranked among the most in-demand jobs for veterans in 2018. Your military training and its style of methodical problem-solving can be a perfect fit for these types of jobs. To qualify, you'll need a bachelor's degree and leadership experience.
3. Government Contractor
The U.S. Department of Defense is one of the government's biggest employers of contractors, so these businesses can be a lucrative choice for ex-military members. If you loved the action of your military job and are looking to continue on a similar track in the private sector, you could find contractor work to be a comfortable fit. You might even be able to transition directly into this kind of job, especially if you've previously held a security clearance. Qualifications will depend on the position, but on-the-job military experience usually translates to a good percentage of these jobs. However, a college degree can usually give you a good boost in options.
Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing fields in the market today. Veterans are great candidates to fill these in-demand positions because battlefield experience translates well to cybersecurity. To enter this field, you'll need a college degree and/or certification to get qualified. If you don't have these, there are programs to help veterans gain needed credentials. If cybersecurity is of interest to you, know that the field will hold no shortage of opportunities for years to come.
5. Specialized Trades
Many construction, plumbing, electric, HVAC, sheet metal, and trucking companies might actively seek you out, if you learned specialized skills in the military. Necessary qualifications include a high school diploma and any certifications or licenses (i.e., electrician or heavy equipment operator) required to work in the private sector. If you're seeking a management position, you'll also need a college degree.
6. Disaster Planning and Preparation
One never knows when a disaster may occur, and when the unexpected happens, it's crucial to be prepared. As a service member, you’re likely well-versed in emergency procedures, so disaster planning and preparation could be a natural fit— not to mention the fact that it's a high-growth field where demand is steadily on the rise. To be qualified, you'll need a bachelor's degree, work experience (chances are, your military experience qualifies), and strong communication skills. Extra certifications through the National Association of Safety Professionals or FEMA are great ways to boost your credentials.
7. Senior Program Manager
If you’re a former officer, you probably have a strong leadership background and experience in an authoritative, decision-making role. Officers’ abilities to lead specific projects and ensure timely completion are often ideal for civilian positions in program management. In these jobs, you can use your analytical, technical, and tactical skills in a variety of roles. General qualifications to work as a senior program manager include a bachelor's degree, 5+ years of project management experience, documentation skills, familiarity with budgets, and an understanding of related methodologies. It also doesn’t hurt to be self-motivated and demonstrate a drive for results.
8. Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Medical and health information can be a great field for you, if you have experience handling sensitive information and tend to stick to the letter where rules are concerned. This means you could apply your military work ethic and skills to abiding by HIPAA and other health information security practices. To qualify, you'll need a postsecondary certificate, an associate's degree, and RHIT or RHIA certification, depending on the position.
9. Compliance Managers
The role of compliance manager has become increasingly important in today's electronic world. Since this position primarily requires enforcing rules and processes, your military training and precision could make you an ideal fit. Knowledge management specialists at all levels can find good jobs in this field. It’s also valuable to understand how customers interact with your company at different touch points.
After leaving the military, life throws many changes and challenges at you. Finding a job shouldn't be one of them. Here are some tips to help you make the transition:
- Build your résumé with an online skills translator to help convert descriptions and acronyms from your military experience into language that civilian employers understand.
- Explore the Veterans Employment Center website for helpful resources.
- Look into veteran education benefits if a college degree is needed.
- Consider ways to earn college credit for military service and/or training.
- Check out the top veteran-friendly states for additional employment opportunities.
You’ve already been employed by one of the best training environments across the globe: the U.S. military. Once employers understand the value you bring to their fields, they often will actively seek you out for the highly valued skills and attributes you gained in the service. They are attracted to the military skill set, discipline, work ethic, understanding of rules, and ability to demonstrate discretion with security or proprietary information.
Although you might not find an exact civilian match to your military job, if you stretch a little outside your comfort zone and consider different ways your unique skills can apply, you could land a terrific opportunity in a field you might not have previously considered.
This blog was provided by Brad Miller, a Marine Corps veteran and owner of themilitaryguide.org – a blog for veterans, active duty service members, reservists, and anyone considering joining the Armed Forces. Brad started his blog to give back and create resources for people in the military community.
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